Fri-El Ethiopia farming & processing plc has begun banana plantation development in tandem with the existing cotton plantation development at our Omorate farm in order to expand our agricultural production. Our banana plantation project is intended to produce high-quality banana varieties that are in demand in high-end markets in Europe and the Middle East.
Although Europe and the Middle East are our primary markets, our products will also be sold in regional and local markets such as Somaliland and Addis Ababa, with future expansions planned in Djibouti and other Ethiopian cities.
A Little about banana
Banana plants are high herbs that can grow up to 15 m and succeed themselves. On average, it takes from 9-12 months for a banana plant to harvest and get ripened.
Through man selection, intensive research, and commercialization, banana plants have lost their seeds gradually and are sterile, hence reproduced by suckers that grow from the rhizome.
There are more than 1000 different varieties of Banana worldwide. Being the most commercialized variety in the world, Cavendish accounts for 47% of global banana production.
This variety is preferred in the banana-producing companies for its best qualities such as short stems, high productivity per hectare, its resistance to environmental stresses such as strong winds and storms, and its quickly recovering capacity from natural disasters. Also, the resilience effects of global travel gave them the preference among other varieties.
Cavendish (tall and short), Williams, and Grand Nain are the varieties we grow on our farm site, gradually transforming the farm to Grand Nain for its uniformity, high productivity, and disease-resistant characteristics. Seedlings for plantation are being used from laboratory tissue cultured and hardened in a controlled greenhouse.
Alongside our plantation development, our company has also procured 40 feet refrigerated containers for transporting produce at optimum temperature, keeping fruits fresh until destination. International standard packaging facility which has facilities such as grading, cutting, washing, and packing section is also under construction. We also have cable ways to maintain the quality of bananas while harvesting and transporting banana bunches from field to packing stations in which we invested more than one million USD.
The cableway transport system has added direct and indirect values to our quality banana production. A few of them are listed below:
- Time-saving and meeting the market demand on time
- More bunches transported at a time
- fewer transport damages to the fruits on the way to the packing station
- Less manpower required to transport the fruits
- Less labor cost
In producing quality fruit for the high-end customers of Europe and the Middle East, our team includes specialized banana experts who have been working in the world’s best-known American producer and distributor of bananas, Chiquita. These experts are working in the field training locals on how to maintain premium quality bananas from planting up to packing.